According to the website, World Strides, “the last month of the year is a world of holidays.” What may have started out in pre-history as a solstice celebration has grown into a world-wide phenomenon of historical, religious, cultural and economic events. Many of us actually juggle multiple holidays in this short period of time. Sometimes, celebration becomes stress fest. But one of the season’s icons, Santa Claus, is noted for his jolly laugh. In fact, a good ho-ho-ho belly laugh goes a long way toward reducing stress and encouraging your brain to release those feel-good endorphins.
Here are five ways to help you laugh, no matter what you are celebrating now, and then all through the New Year.
- Imitate that “jolly old elf.” First, stand in a circle with your family.
Place your hands on your belly. Take a deep breath and expand your diaphragm.Using your whole breath, shout “Ho Ho Ho!”Start over, this time shouting “Ha Ha Ha!” and a third time shouting “Hee Hee Hee!” Repeat as often as you want!
2. Explore ways to lighten up tasks and traditions. Let younger family members “help” out with cooking or decorating. It is not about perfection; it is about joy and laughter doing things together.
3. Have a Holiday Humor Gift Exchange — share small gifts that are clever, funny or unexpected; like useful everyday objects presented differently. (animal shaped soaps! Hot pink socks! Clown noses for everyone!)
4. For the new year, write a list of resolutions revolving around laughter.
“In the new year, I will look for opportunities to laugh more, I will take myself lightly, I will, when possible, find a way for today’s craziness to be tomorrow’s funny story!”
5. Follow the lead of the youngest family members. Remember, babies laugh before they speak, and that is because laughter is a human social survival tool. If the kids are laughing at “nothing,” join in!